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Brooklyn, New York
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Brooklyn, New York

Richard Lewis is a well-known American comedian and actor whose comedic talent has earned him a place among the comedy world’s titans, such as David Letterman, Larry David, and Ray Leno. The most suitable appellation for the hair-tearing and melancholy yet amusing persona that he has created for television is ‘The Prince of Pain.’ Lewis began his humorous career by making brief appearances on television shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, but as his talent grew, he began to receive more and more opportunities to showcase his abilities on television and the big screen. He also appeared in films such as ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights,’ ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ ‘Once Upon a Crime,’ and others. Lewis is not only an exceptional actor and comedian, but he is also a writer who has contributed comic material to major magazines, including Playboy, throughout his life. He also published his memoir, “The Other Great Depression,” in which he chronicled his lifelong struggle with drugs and alcoholism.

Childhood and Adolescence

Richard Lewis was born into a middle-class family in Brooklyn, New York City, to a caterer father and a small-time actress mother.
He graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in marketing and communications and went on to work as a librarian in the Museum of Modern Art’s archives.

Career of Richard Lewis

Lewis saw his acting talent and comedic ability and chose to pursue comedy professionally. This epiphany occurred to him while he was effectively giving ad text and comic content to other comedians.

In the early 1970s, he began his professional comedy career with New York’s Improvisation Comedy Club, and by 1974, he had appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, proving that his skill was no longer hidden.

Lewis began appearing on The Sonny and Cher Show on a regular basis. Because of his TV persona as an angry and unpleasant person, he got the moniker ‘The Prince of Pain’ about this time.

Lewis did numerous guest appearances on shows such as Saturday Night Live, made countless television appearances, and toured with other comics, including a comic concert with Jamie Lee Curtis that won him his own cable special, ‘I’m in Pain.’

In the short-lived TV sitcom ‘Daddy Dearest,’ he co-starred with Don Rickles. He appeared in ‘Rude Awakening,’ as ‘Rabbi Richard Glass’ on the dramatic series ‘7th Heaven,’ and on ‘Tales from the Crypt.’

Lewis not only did stand-up comedy, but he also authored humorous and caustic comedic essays for a variety of publications, including ‘Playboy.’ In the 1990s, he was also a spokesperson for well-known products such as Boku, Snapple, and Certs breath mints.

‘Once Upon a Crime (1992)’, ‘Wagons East! (1994)’, ‘Leaving Las Vegas (1995)’, Mel Brooks’ ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1997)’—in which he played ‘Prince John’, ‘The Wrong Guys (1998)’, and so on.

Lewis is also an author, and in addition to penning funny pieces and columns for numerous American periodicals, he published his own book, ‘The Other Great Depression,’ in 2001, which chronicled his struggle with alcoholism.

He recently appeared in ‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ alongside Chris Rock, and in ‘Two and a Half Men,’ as Charlie Sheen’s accountant. In Larry David’s successful effort ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ he also has a recurrent role.

He’s finished filming “Squirrels To The Nuts,” a Peter Bogdanovich picture starring Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, and Cybill Shepherd that will be released in 2014.

Major Projects of Richard Lewis

Lewis is a multi-faceted personality with a resume that includes stage performances, TV and film acting, and writing, but his specialty is his one-of-a-kind comic routines, which he has adapted into a number of TV shows and films.

Personal History and Legacy

Lewis married Joyce Lapinsky, his long-term partner and’soulmate,’ in 2005. When he wanted to marry Lapinsky, he took her to see his therapist to get his assessment of her.

Estimated Net Worth

Richard Lewis has a net worth of $7 million as an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. Lewis is most known for his stand-up comedy and appearances on ABC’s “Anything But Love” (1989–1992) and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000–present). In the 1970s, he began his career as a stand-up comedian while working for an advertising agency during the day.


He described his struggle with alcohol and drugs in his memoir, ‘The Other Great Depression,’ which he first promoted on The Howard Stern Show in 2001, and famously declared, “…as full of sorrows and obsessions as I am, the one thing I’m most pleased of is that I am no longer dominated by alcohol.”

In the last ten years or so of Jonathan Winters’ life, he enjoyed a close friendship with his comic idol.

“I go on a long tour and make people happy that they’re not me and go home,” he once said.

Lewis has been featured in and contributed to numerous books, the most recent of which is author William Knoedelseder’s ‘I’m Dying Up Here,’ which documents the combined coming of age of the standup comedians who have defined American humor for the last three decades, such as Letterman, Leno, Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, and others.